Launched in August 2019, the plant has a processing capacity of up to 750,000 tonnes a year and will be able to treat larger and larger quantities of used vegetable and frying oil, animal fats, algae and waste/advanced by-products to produce high-quality biofuels. A total of more than 360 million euros has so far been spent on the conversion of the refinery and the ancillaries units. A further investment is now underway in a biomass pre-treatment unit (BTU), which will be completed by the end of 2020. This will allow the plant to be fed entirely with second-generation raw materials, consisting of waste, crude vegetable oils and advanced materials. The process of converting the traditional refinery into a bio-refinery began in April 2016 and took more than 3 million hours of work by third parties to finish. Significantly, there were also no accidents along the way.
Our bio-refinery in Gela is designed for treating advanced and unconventional loads up to 100% of processing capacity. It is one of the few bio-refineries in the world with such high operating flexibility. Gela is defined by its ability to process "unconventional" second-generation raw material from food production waste, regenerated used cooking oil (RUCO), animal fats (tallow) and by-products from processing vegetable oil. This makes it an innovative plant with high environmental sustainability that can process loads that would otherwise be disposed of as waste – to the cost of the community and the environment – using them instead for biofuel, creating a real-world example of the circular economy.